Dump Truck Overturns

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Dump Truck Overturns Safety Talk

Dump trucks are widely used in a variety of different industries today. These trucks can vary greatly in design, but the basic premise of the job they complete is universal; they haul material and dump it. Despite varying designs and uses of these trucks, many of the hazards of operation remain the same. Overturn of the bed of the truck or the entire truck itself is one of the major hazards for the operation of these trucks.

Dump Truck Overturn Injuries

Although it is hard to pinpoint exactly how many tip over incidents occur in the United States or in the world per day, it is safe to say they occur all too often. When dump trucks tip over, serious injuries or death can result. Not only are the operators of these trucks at risk for injury, but so is any person around the truck as well. There are many news stories of workers on the ground or a member of the public suffering fatal injuries from a dump truck that has overturned.

Causes of Overturn Incidents

There are many different causes or contributing factors for the entire truck or just the bed of the truck to overturn. The factors will depend on the worksite as well as the type of truck used. Some common causes of tip overs include:

  • Operating on uneven ground or slope. One of the most common causes for a dump truck to tip over is operating on uneven ground. Dumping on ground that is sloped or not level presents more of a chance for the weight of the load or bed to shift and cause an overturn incident. When the bed overturns, it can cause the cab to overturn as well if the truck does not have an articulating dump bed.
  • Shifting load. As mentioned above, a load that shifts to one side or to the back of the bed can cause a tip over incident.
  • Bed malfunction. All too often, bed malfunctions lead to a tip over incident. One example is a failure in the lift mechanisms. Another common example is a tailgate that does not open or unlatch. When this occurs, and the operator or spotter does not catch it, the entire load shifts to the back of the bed and can cause the front of the truck to lift up and turn over.
  • Soft material. Many times at construction sites, operators pull onto an area they think is solid and even, however, after they begin to dump, the weight of the shifting load causes the material under the truck to shift, which can lead to overturn.

Dump Truck Overturn Prevention

  • Always dump on level ground. If dumping on a slope, always dump with the slope, not against it.
  • Always have material loaded evenly in the bed of the truck. Pay attention to how the load is leaving the bed while dumping.
  • Always inspect equipment on the bed prior to use. Pay attention while dumping to ensure there is no malfunctioning equipment that could cause a tip over.
  • When operating off-road or in soft material, choose a spot to dump that will not shift with the weight of the load on it.
  • Never dump close to the shoulders of roads or the edge of a lift of newly placed material.
  • Never dump a load when ground personnel are in the line of fire or other vehicles are in the area. Many fatalities occur to those who are in the line of fire of a bed that has tipped over.


There are many different things that can go wrong that can lead to a tip over incident. It is necessary to follow every best practice and safeguard there is when hauling and dumping material in a dump truck. Avoiding complacency while operating these trucks can make the difference in preventing a tip over incident that could have led to a fatality.

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